Staff Spotlight: Isalina Chow

Our Spotlight series introduces you to the people behind Perennial Press. In our fifth post, we hear from Isalina Chow, graphic designer, poet + all-around creative. Chow talks to us about her fascination with geodesic domes, the work of Cecelia Vicuña, self-publishing as an art form, and makes us a playlist. Read on: 

What is your involvement with Perennial Press?

I’m primarily a designer on the team. This includes making graphics for social media to announce events, cover reveals, book reviews, etc., as well as supporting book production through cover design.

What book are you reading right now? 

I recently started reading Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by Buckminster Fuller, a bit of a nerdy choice. This man had been on my mind for some time these last many months in lockdown, starting, bizarrely enough, from a fascination with geodesic domes. I think, during this extended period of isolation, I found myself only more compelled by utopian visions and worldviews of interconnectedness, like that of Buckminster – embracing the unity of our earth and with a fundamental desire to uplift social good.

Who is an artist you are loving right now? 

Ever since watching her talk during the Vancouver Art Book Fair, Cecilia Vicuña has been on my mind, a lovely Chilean artist and activist with tremendous indigenous wisdom. To share some of her words, when she was asked how we build anticipation in our art/book works, her response was, “You have to renounce your own thoughts, in a way … if you begin to understand and sense that thoughts are only the surface, only the recognizable part of a Knowing, a Feeling, something in you that drives you, like the need to drink water, the need to eat, the need to caress, and be caressed – that is the kind of knowing that will open you up to anticipation.”

Have you ever self-published? 

In 2019, I self-published an art book, blood orange, as part of a group gallery show. It was about lovers falling apart, citrus flesh, and the violence of teeth. It consisted of poetry and prose with imagery (collage, photography, etc) and was very indulgently cathartic. I found constructing this object to be very ambitious – after layout and design, I printed the pages and cover, cut them individually, and assembled them into a hardcover accordion-style book. The amount of work was unbelievable, with the time and precision needed, and the many do-overs at each stage. I can’t say I would put myself through it again, but in the end, it was so rewarding to hold this thing I made with my own hands.

Make us a playlist, pretty please?

  • Lions - Jenny Hval, feat Vivian Wang
  • Horn - Jaala
  • Charcoal Baby - Blood Orange
  • Dragons - Princess Nokia
  • 大風吹 (Simon Says) - No Party for Cao Dong
  • REALiTi (demo) - Grimes
  • Ashes to Ashes - Jenny Hval
  • Hope - Blood Orange, Diddy, Tei Shi

Listen to Isalina’s playlist on Spotify.

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